Mines of Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar
Imperial capital; Rammelsberg-Goslar: mining, administration, trade.
Location and siteIn north central Germany, in Lower Saxony, Goslar is situated 70 km. southeast of Hanover and 1 km. from Rammelsberg, in the Harz massif.
Surrounded by green space, Goslar is densely constructed within its ramparts, which are flanked by towers. The market square, distinguished by its fountain of superposed bronze bowls, dates to the imperial era. Very narrow streets and lanes make up the city's medieval plan. The layout of this ensemble, which was established in the 15th and 16th centuries, is well preserved today.
Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural elements come together in this urban and artistic landscape. Approximately 1,500 half-timber houses, built over several centuries, contribute to the originality and harmony of the ensemble. A large number of industrial vestiges testify to the exceptional history of the Rammelsberg mines.
The site constitutes the largest mining and metallurgical centre and the mine which was exploited over a longer period than others in Central Europe. Its role in Europe's economy was particularly important for several centuries and it can be considered a masterpiece of the creative genius of mankind. (I) The site exemplifies a form which is very characteristic of an urban-industrial ensemble consisting of an important medieval metallurgical and mining zone and an administrative and commercial zone, and it is the most complete and best conserved European example of this form. (IV)
- By the 3rd century, the Rammelsberg mountain was already a site of mineral exploitation. Silver, lead, zinc and gold were the main metals found there.
- The 10th century marked the beginning of more than a millennium of continuous mining activity on the site; the operation of the mines ceased in 1988. King Henry I (the Fowler), who reigned from 919 until 936, founded Goslar. He identified the location of the city's market and determined the laws by which it was to operate.
- At the beginning of the 11th century, Emperor Henry II, who was also attracted by the mineral riches of the area, constructed a palace at the foot of the Rammelsberg mountain. Until 1253, Goslar was the seat of the principal residence of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire. The city developed around the palace according to the area's mining activity. Churches, chapels and a fountain added to the landscape.
- At the end of the Middle Ages, mineral extraction, metalwork and merchant activity engendered a remarkable boom in Goslar. The city joined the Hanseatic League, in which it played an important role. It enjoyed its heyday around 1450, and during the following century restoration work (notably, the city hall) and reconstruction (the fortifications) took place. A large number of new guild halls, as well as numerous half-timber houses, were constructed.
- In 1552, the Duchy of Brunswick seized Rammelsberg and managed the mines until they were taken over by the Prussians in 1886.
|Mr. Oliver Junk|
|City of Goslar|
Rathaus Markt 1
38640 Goslar, Germany
|Dr. Manuela Armenat|
World Heritage Manager
+49 (0) 5321 / 750-110
+49 (0) 5321 / 750-130
|Dr. Christine Bauer|
38640 Goslar, Germany